The Reason Eric Ripert Struggles To Serve Meat Dishes In His Restaurants

It seems most high profile chefs have a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak, and chef Eric Ripert is no different. In fact, he might have more going on than most. Over the years, Ripert has opened a number of restaurants, most notably Le Bernardin. He also has a host of cookbooks he has written, and he even launched his own line of caviar (via Grub Street). Not to mention, Ripert is the host of an annual Who's Who in the culinary world, Cayman Cookout, at the Ritz Carlton on Grand Cayman Island.

With so much success, it's obvious that Ripert knows his way around the kitchen. However, there is one thing that Ripert struggles with in his culinary art — serving meat. This predicament seems to stem from his life as a Bhuddist. Ripert was first drawn to Buddhism in 1989 while reading about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, according to Tricycle. Because Ripert's practice has given him "respect for the lives of the products" his team uses, the acclaimed chef has found himself at the center of a moral dilemma that puts the customer's desire at odds with his spiritual beliefs.

Eric Ripert wants farmers to raise animals in a 'more human way'

According to Enthusiastic Buddhist, Buddhism teaches compassion and non-violence, though not all Buddhists are vegetarian or vegan. But it is this idea that weighs on chef Eric Ripert. Thus, while Ripert told Tricycle that he understands very few people can be vegetarian or vegan because it is human nature to be omnivorous, he still struggles with serving animals. "I'm a chef in New York with a successful restaurant," he said, "and I'm kind of asking myself, 'What's the right thing to do without being too militant or extremist but at the same time doing something right?'" While Ripert admitted that he does not know the answer, he has found a method with which he can live.

In conversation with Tricycle, Ripert explained that he always tries to promote tolerance and compassion, and it appears these ideas have become the foundation for his (somewhat reluctant) willingness to serve meat. Ripert said, "My middle way is to try to encourage farmers to raise animals in a more humane way." Ripert also admitted that, while he would like to bring his awareness of the matter "to the next level," he has established an approach with which he can be comfortable in the present moment.